How to Edge a Tile Backsplash


A tile backsplash is simply a group of wall tiles hung over a countertop (generally behind the sink) to decorate the wall and protect it from moisture. Since the backsplash usually doesn't take up the whole wall, you have to have some kind of border around it to make the transition from the tiles to the surrounding wall. There are several ways to edge a tile backsplash—including with tile itself. You can buy special edging tile, in the shape of rope, wood trim or just a finished curve that dresses up the border.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tile adhesive
  • Adhesive trowel
  • Field tiles (the main tiles for the middle), enough to span the whole backsplash area
  • Edge tiles (trim or `"bullnose'' style, finished on one edge), enough to go around the perimeter
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Caulk
  • Measure and mark the outline you want for your backsplash, using your tape measure, pencil and level to draw the border. For ease of installation, make sure the dimensions will encompass all full tiles (including edge tiles), so you don't have to make any tile cuts.

  • Mark a vertical line through the middle of the backsplash area, using your level and pencil. Spread adhesive over the whole area, using your notched trowel. (Note: You should still be able to see the vertical line through the adhesive.)

  • Press your ``field tiles'' into place starting at the bottom, on either side of the vertical line, and working your way out and up. Keep them evenly spaced. Hang them all, so all that's left open in the backsplash space is the perimeter for the edge tiles.

  • Hang the edge tiles, with the finished or ``bullnose'' edges facing out. Let all the tiles set overnight.

  • Grout the backsplash by spreading grout across the whole thing with your grout float, pressing the grout into the spaces between the tiles. Wipe off the excess with a damp sponge. Don't grout the horizontal line where the bottom of the tiles meet the countertop. Let the grout set overnight.

  • Run a line of caulk in the space where the tiles meet the countertop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ventilate the room when applying tile adhesive and grout.

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  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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